Richard Lewis


genius loci: connecting with Dartington’s ancient woods

Group B (June 8, 15.30 – 18.00))

Limit: 12


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It is perhaps one of the ironies of conferences such as this, that whilst discussing our experiences of connecting to non-human nature, most of us have had to leave behind the places where these connections are most fully developed – our homes and the landscapes, communities, places and organisms that we engage with daily.

This workshop offers an opportunity to connect more deeply to the non-human nature of the Dartington Hall Estate, our temporary home for these three days. We will use a balance of intuitive and rational knowledge to explore the complementary ways these sets of information can help us to build a deeper connection place.

In this workshop we will:

  • Walk to a patch of ancient woodland on the Dartington Hall Estate.
  • Take time to engage our senses and connect intuitively with this special place.
  • Hear stories inspired by research about the wood’s geology, ecology, history and pre-history.
  • With this information fresh in our thoughts, we will once more take time to engage our senses and deepen our intuitive connection.
  • Share our experiences with each other and reflect on the roles of intuitive and rational knowledge in creating a connection to the Genius Locus of this particular wood.
  • Walk back across the estate to the main conference venue.


The walk to the woodland is around 20 minutes walk each way (a total of around 40minutes). This will be outdoors on paths that may be muddy, steep or uneven in places, and may also involve crossing a stile. We will also spend about 90 minutes standing still or sitting in woodland, whatever the weather.

Please come prepared for the weather and conditions. You might want to wear sturdy shoes and warm, waterproof clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit muddy. You might also want to bring an umbrella, bottle of water, and a blanket or cushion to sit on.

We aim for this workshop to be accessible to as many people as possible. Please let us know ASAP if you might not be able to easily walk this distance, so we can make other transport arrangements. Please also get in contact if you have any other accessibility concerns and we will try to find workable solutions.